Updated: April 1, 2021 11:37:27 am
Targetting Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after she announced that the government was withdrawing the circular on cutting interest rates on small savings schemes, the Congress on Thursday said one could imagine the functioning of the economy when an approved order affecting crores of people was issued by an “oversight”.
The sharp reduction in small savings rates, which was to take effect from today, was withdrawn by the government this morning. “Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn,” Sitharaman said in a tweet at 7.54 am.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi asked Sitharaman if the Centre’s turnaround was a case of “oversight”, as claimed, or one of election-driven “hindsight”. Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also criticized Sitharaman, and asked whether a “circus” or a government was being run.
The party said Sitharaman had no moral right to continue as the finance minister.
Are u running a ‘Circus’ or a ‘Govt’?
One can imagine the functioning of economy when such duly approved order affecting crores of people can be issued by an ‘oversight’.
Who is the competent authority referred in order?
You have no moral right to continue as FM. pic.twitter.com/czRv5MY7O8
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 1, 2021
Meanwhile, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram called Sitharamn’s excuse “lame.”
“Announcement of interest rates on savings instruments for the next quarter is a regular exercise. There is nothing ‘inadvertent’ about its release on 31st March. The BJP government had decided to launch another assault on the middle class by slashing the interest rates and profiting itself. When caught, the FM is putting forward the lame excuse of ‘inadvertent error’. When inflation is at about 6 per cent and expected to rise, the BJP government is offering interest rates below 6 per cent hitting the savers and the middle class below the belt,” he tweeted.
The Trinamool Congress also mocked the Centre. While Derek O’Brien and Mahua Moitra called it an April’s Fool joke, Yashwant Sinha — who recently switched to TMC from the BJP — tweeted, “Roll back Modi’.
Egg on face again🤪
Because MO-SHA too busy throwing petals from trucks and cracking April Fool jokes of false promises at election rallies. https://t.co/SVb0dWrqQU
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) April 1, 2021
“What is the biggest April Fool’s joke here? That a now rolled back small savings rate cut was issued by ‘oversight’? Or that Nirmala Sitaraman is Fin Min of this country?” Moitra tweeted.
“I am very sad today. I thought I alone had the monopoly of roll backs. This govt has outdone even me. Labour laws, small savings interest rates are a couple of examples. Roll Back Modi,” Sinha wrote on Twitter.
In a circular on Wednesday, the Finance Ministry said the interest rate on savings deposits has been reduced to 3.5 per cent from 4 per cent for the first quarter of 2021-22. Rates on time deposits were also slashed significantly. The lowering of interest rates would have helped the government reduce costs, but would have hurt investors, particularly senior citizens and the middle-class.
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